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RHUN location map in middle earth

Location of Rhûn in Middle-earth, marked in red

Rhûn, also called The East and Eastlands in the Westron tongue, was a large region in far-eastern Middle-earth. It was the home of the Easterlings in the Second and Third Ages. It had many different groups who often fought each other but who were united by Sauron in hatred of the West, and served him in the War of the Rings.

Overview[]

Rhûn referred to all lands lying east of Rhovanion, around and beyond the inland Sea of Rhûn, from where many attacks on Gondor and its allies came during the Third Age.

Very little is known of the lands beyond the great Sea of Rhûn that stood on its borders with the western lands. Even Gandalf had never explored there, and although Aragorn visited once, his activities are not recounted.

Something is known of its ancient geography from The Silmarillion; far beyond the Sea of Rhûn was another inland sea, the Sea of Helcar, and beyond that a range of mountains known as the Orocarni (Red Mountains). Somewhere in the lost east, too, lay Cuiviénen and Hildórien, where Elves and Men first awoke: all Children of Ilúvatar could trace their ancestries back to the eastern regions of Middle-earth.

The Easterlings were a human race who ultimately followed both Dark Lords and fought as their allies in war in different parts of history. The Wainriders and Balchoth were factions of the Easterlings in the Third Age.

Geography[]

The western part of Rhûn was visible in maps of the Westlands of Middle-earth. It contained the great Sea of Rhûn, into which ran the River Running from the northwest. A forest lay to the northeast of the Sea, and near the southwestern shores, there was a range of hills. Wild white Kine of Araw, or oxen, lived near the shores of the Sea of Rhûn.

Further east in Rhûn were ancient regions where the Children of Ilúvatar first awoke: Cuiviénen for the Elves, which lay on the shores of Sea of Helcar near the Orocarni; and Hildórien for Men. Four Dwarven clans were also located in Rhûn; their strongholds were likely in the Orocarni mountains.

To the south, Rhûn was bordered by the land of Khand and by Mordor.

Dwarves of Rhûn[]

Dwarves emerged in Middle-earth in the Years of the Trees, after Elves, but before Men. When the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves awoke in far-flung corners of Middle-earth, some found themselves in Rhûn, and founded kingdoms there, under mountains. These clans were the Ironfists, Stiffbeards, Blacklocks, and Stonefoots. In the late Third Age, Dwarves of those kingdoms journeyed out of Rhûn to join all Middle-earth's other Dwarf clans in the War of the Dwarves and Orcs, which was fought in and under the Misty Mountains. After this war, the survivors returned home. Late in the Third Age, when war and terror grew in Rhûn itself, considerable numbers of its Dwarves left their ancient homelands. They sought refuge in Middle-earth's western lands, where some met Frodo Baggins.[5]

History[]

The first Elves awoke far east of the Sea of Rhûn, and many of them were led to the Westlands by Oromë. Some Elves forsook this Great Journey and chose to remain in the east; they were called the Avari.

The first Men also awoke in the far east, where they first met Dwarves[1] and Avari. The ancestors of the Edain and Drúedain traveled west out of Rhûn. At the shores of the Sea of Rhûn, some of the Mannish tribes traveling west separated and their languages soon diverged.[6] Other men remained in Rhûn, and many of them came under the dominion of Morgoth and, later, Sauron. These men were called Easterlings, and they led many attacks against Gondor and its allies in the Third Age.

During the Third Age, Rhûn was visited by three Wizards; Saruman, Alatar, and Pallando, and though Saruman returned to the west, the two Blue Wizards remained. Their fates are unknown and whether they were successful in inspiring the peoples they had contact with to resist Sauron's influence is unknown. Sauron himself fled to Rhûn following his defeat by the Last Alliance of Elves and Men and again when hiding from the White Council during the centuries known in the west as the Watchful Peace.

Gondor conquered the western edge of Rhûn twice: under the Kings Rómendacil I and Rómendacil II, but the Númenóreans never established permanent control east of the Sea of Rhûn.

The people of Rhûn were eventually defeated by King Elessar, who then made peace with them.

Etymology[]

The name Rhûn is Sindarin for 'east', as opposed to the Quenya romen. Likewise, Harad means 'south' in Sindarin, Forod (as in Forodwaith) means north, and Dûn means west.

In adaptations[]

In The Lord of the Rings Online, on the day when the One Ring was destroyed, an unknown calamity had taken place in Rhûn. In the weeks afterwards, streams of refugees begin pouring into the Iron Hills and the Dale-lands, despite those places having waged a war against the Easterlings not a full month before. The refugees are willing to take their chances against the prejudice and outward hostility directed against them from the Men and Dwarves of those lands, but none of them would speak in detail about what exactly had happened in Rhûn, other than it is impossible for them to go back. Rhûn itself does not appear in the game.

In The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, it is established that Rhûn used to be a green and beautiful land, but had become a wasteland by the closing years of the Second Age.[7]

Translations[]

Foreign Language Translated name
Armenian Ռուն
Bulgarian Cyrillic Рун
Chinese 盧恩
Danish Rhûn (Østlandene)
Japanese リューン
Macedonian Cyrillic Рун
Russian Рун
Thai รูห์น
Ukrainian Cyrillic Рун
Places of Middle-earth and Arda

Middle-earth Locations:

Provinces/Regions:

Arnor | Dunland | Ettenmoors | Forochel | Forodwaith | Gondor | Harad | Ithilien | Khand | Lindon | Minhiriath | Mordor | Rhovanion | Rhûn | Rivendell | Rohan | The Shire

Forests & Mountains:

Amon Dîn | Amon Hen | Amon Lhaw | Caradhras | Emyn Muil | Erebor | Fangorn Forest | High Pass | Iron Hills | Lórien | Mirkwood | Mount Doom | Mount Gundabad | Old Forest | Orod-na-Thôn | Tower Hills | Weathertop Hill

City/Fortifications:

Angband | Barad-dûr | Bree | Caras Galadhon | Dol Guldur | Fornost Erain | Hornburg | Isengard | Minas Morgul | Minas Tirith | Last Homely House | Tower of Amon Sûl | Tower of Orthanc | Osgiliath | Umbar | Utumno

Miscellaneous:

Argonath | Astulat | Buckland | Cair Andros | Dagorlad | Dead Marshes | Enedwaith | Fords of Isen | Gap of Rohan | Grey Havens

The rest of Arda:

Aman | Burnt Land of the Sun | Dark Land | Empty Lands | Neldoreth | New lands | Númenor | Tol Eressëa

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 The History of Middle-earth, Vol. XI: The War of the Jewels, Part Two: The Later Quenta Silmarillion, chapter 13: "Concerning the Dwarves"
  2. The Atlas of Middle-earth, Thematic Maps, "Languages"
  3. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, "Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor"
  4. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, "Of Men"
  5. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book One, chapter II: "The Shadow of the Past", pgs. 52-3
  6. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. XII, The Peoples of Middle-earth, Part Two: Late Writings, chapter 12: "The Problem of Ros"
  7. Anthony Breznican, "Tom Bombadil Finally Steps Forth in The Rings of Power - An Exclusive First Look", May 29, 2024
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